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There’s a manipulator in my life. She’s sometimes friendly, other times she’s just downright hurtful and rude. Day after day, year after year she is my first contact in the morning.

Her energy is so strong that her mood often set my whole day into action. If she is in a good mood, it will be a a good day. If she’s feeling particularly nasty that morning, it rubs off on me and my mood is also sour throughout the day.

Often I use  her as a measure of my self worth. Which seems crazy since she is so moody herself. Over the years I seem to have put a lot of stock in her opinion. I’ve trusted her to be honest and impartial. Honest she is, impartial I am not so sure.

She doesn’t love me. This I know for sure. She can’t. She doesn’t have a heart. She doesn’t have a brain, and really she doesn’t have feelings. Yet I let her determine mine.

What the hell am I thinking?

Today I am getting rid of the manipulator. She can longer determine my mood.

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I will no longer allow her to determine my self worth.

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What a bitch that scale is. Yes, sometimes she tells me what I want to hear. However even that is sometimes a lie. Of all the people in my life that love me, care for me and heck – have a PULSE… why is it that I let an electronic scale have all the power. More power then PEOPLE? That’s just ridiculous.

If I gain a pound am I worth less than I was yesterday. If I lose a pound do I gain a better mood?

Sadly, the answer has been YES all these years. I am sick and tired of being on the scale roller coaster. Of course I still want to take care of myself and be healthy. Isn’t healthy emotional as well? I think it is.

So today is July 1. For the WHOLE MONTH OF JULY I am not weighing myself. I am going to take good care of myself. Eat well. Exercise. Give myself positive affirmations (something the scale NEVER does) instead. I am going to start my day with something that gives me joy, not aggravation.

I am excited to see how this changes me and my feelings about myself and my body. This is not an excuse to let myself go, instead an excuse to embrace myself for all that I am.

Sound good? Want to join me? Leave a comment in the section below and let’s check in Aug 1 and see how we all feel. Also feel free to share with those you love that are also prisoners to the scale. (Men and Women!) Let’s take back the power and declare ourselves #shamelesslyfeminine !

XO,
Jen

  • Melissa - This is great, I’M IN!!!! After having Milania 7 weeks ago I’m so concerned with losing all the baby weight (like yesterday) that I weigh myself everyday. You’re completely right that number determines my mood. I could be in a bad mood over 1 lb or even if I’m the same weight as yesterday, why let something like a number control my day when I should be the only thing determining my mood/day/happiness!ReplyCancel

  • Mandy - Eloquently put! Imagine if when you stepped on a scale, instead of seeing a meaningless number you see a positive word of encouragement instead? Now THAT’S an invention. I’m with you on this one! #buhbyescale… I won’t miss you.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - I’m ready to try this.ReplyCancel

  • Elena Rachor - You are totally right. When I moved out at my parents home I never even bought a scale and I feel so much better. It is now 8 years without a scale in my home and it is great because you learn again to listen to your body and doesn’t determine your life and mood by a technical device.ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - This has been my life for SO long! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!ReplyCancel

  • Liz Fox - Amen! I agree that scale is evil! I am with you Jen no scale for meReplyCancel

  • Marney White - It’s probably been a month since I weighed myself…I’m not sure. This is BRILLIANT. Take back the power! I’m posting this to my daughter’s FB page! Thanks. xoxReplyCancel

Summer is here. I can speak for all of us in the Northeast when I say – Hallelujah!! I have never been so happy to say goodbye to winter. Let’s face it though, there’s only one thing worse that polar vortexes, blizzards and brutal winds.

Bathing suit season. 

As usual it has snuck up on us. We go from being bundled up and covered to pretty much naked in what seems like a blink of an eye. It’s hard to think about my bikini and preparing for wearing it in June while there is 3 feet of snow on the ground. So every June I am faced with the reality of putting my very pasty white body, that might have softened a little (or a lot) over the winter into two small pieces of fabric and parade around the town pool for all to see (aka Judge).

It’s this time of year I have remind myself of the lessons I have learned from my past clients. Let’s start with “W” who was so paranoid about her stretch marks on her legs that she never wore a bathing suit. All the years of fun she must have missed out on. The hot, hot days that she wore pants instead of shorts because she didn’t want anyone to think less of her.

Then there was “N” who loves the beach. So much so that she almost cries when talking about it. She told me she stopped going to the beach because she doesn’t want to expose anyone to her cellulite. She stopped doing something she LOVES because of a little bumpy skin on her thighs.

Think about that. It kind of sounds ridiculous. Doesn’t it? Someone that stops herself from fun, enjoyment and making memories just because of a little cellulite.

It’s not ridiculous. At least I don’t think so, because I too suffer from many of the same body conscious issues. I often let my paranoia about my body ruin my fun. Steal my memories. Getting a pit in my stomach when I take off my cover up is no way to live.

I remember “D”. She hated the vein in her head that popped out a bit when she smiled. So, she stopped smiling.

What “D” doesn’t understand is that no one saw the vein but her. Everyone else saw her beautiful smile. Although she did have a few stretch marks on her legs, “W” had the most gorgeous womanly shaped body that I had ever seen. Who on earth would even notice her stretch marks? “N” didn’t really have much cellulite at all. In fact, here is something I have  learned as a boudoir photographer. Almost every woman has cellulite, so why do we look at it like it’s such a horrible disgusting thing that devalues our self worth. Cellulite doesn’t say a thing about us as people. It doesn’t define our character nor does it represent your personality.

These three women were all so different. What they shared in common is that they are so much more than what they let define them. It frustrates me so that they can’t see their real value and self worth. That the physical clouds the emotional.

I have a choice. I can be that way too, or fight it.

When I say fight it, I mean it literally. It is literally a battle to stop myself from feeling bad in a bathing suit. I battle that inner voice that says “You are too fat” or “Who do you think you are wearing this?”. It’s that same voice that pops up day in and day out that makes me feel “less than”.

I talk all the time about women not shaming each other… but it occurs to me that  I have to stop shaming myself first.

Maybe I don’t belong in a bikini, maybe I do. I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that today I am going to put one on and not shame myself for it. Not allow myself to be defined by it. Not allow myself to feel vulnerable to what I think other peoples judgements may be.

It may be something small, but it’s a start. It’s the first step on the path to self love. It’s a brain shift. A training of sorts. For years I have given the women the gift of feeling good about themselves. It’s time I give myself the same gift.

#shamelesslyfeminine

xo,

Jen

 

 

 

  • Elena Rachor - Thank you Jen. I battled tears while reading. It is true and such an eye opener.
    Yes I work with women every day and I see so much more in them than the bits and pieces they criticize about themselves. But I don’t see it in myself the critical voice is stronger yes I have to start with myself and be more kind to myself. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Alan Ottenstein - Hardly a woman, yet I suffer from the same fears and self doubts. I’m working actively at loving and respecting myself more, which helps me put my body issues in a more realistic perspective. Still, looking in the mirror … not a task for the weak of heart. Your writings are very helpful, Jen. Thanks, please keep it up.ReplyCancel

  • Roselyn Farmer - This was forwarded to me from a dear friend, I think for two reasons actually; because you do boudoir photography (I’d like to get one done) and for your heartfelt words.
    Like Elana, I too was in tears reading this. Seems like forever I’ve been shaming myself. Not believing people who say I look great – only because I don’t feel it or see it in myself.
    I too have the pale skin, the lumps and bumps of age and gravity, and the ability to go outside with shorts on – just in case I jiggle.
    Its time I started believing in me, and stop being so critical. Thank you for your words…ReplyCancel

  • Roy Esterhuysen - Jen I’m sure you will rock that bikini…. It’s all about confidence :) Good post btw, think too many ladies compare themselves to the magazine covers and feel they not good enough, I feel a big part of looking good is being confident and happy with the body you have :)ReplyCancel

I have a confession. I have been sitting on an idea for quite some time. It’s a new concept if you will. It’s one that means so much to me that I have been frozen on how to create it.

Frozen.

That’s so out of character for me. I am usually the fearless, take no prisoners type of girl. So why is this a challenge? I’ve been struggling with this question for months now. At 5am this morning it hit me. It’s because it means SO much to me. It is what all my work with women has lead to for all these years. It’s the core of my being. It’s revealing my struggles and leaving me wide open and vulnerable. It feels like weakness, it is however it’s purpose requires great strength.

It’s #ShamelesslyFeminine.

No, the hash tag isn’t new. I’ve used it before. However today I use it differently and with purpose.Today it is the start of a movement.  A mind shift. A freedom that women need and deserve.

I took this wording from a blog post I wrote last August:

I believe femininity is Vulnerable not Weak.
I believe femininity is Self confident not Arrogant.
I believe femininity is Fearless and also Humble.

I’m embarrassed that I posted that. You are probably asking why, since after all it is beautiful and strong. At least that is what I thought when I wrote it. The truth is, reading it today… I realize I am making apologies. Why? Why do we do that as women. Why would it be so horrible for me to just say that femininity is self confident. PERIOD. Without having to apologize for it. Why do I have to defend that vulnerability isn’t weakness?

Shame. 

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Shame is why. Shame is sadly what we are made to feel as women. We feel shame for being strong, vulnerable, working, staying home, being sexual creatures, taking care of ourselves, not taking care of ourselves…In fact I can make a list miles long about all the things that we feel shame for. Every woman I know, including myself, has felt shame  that revolves around her femininity at some point in her life. (Not surprisingly, by the way, usually by another woman.)

That ends today.

Today I start the journey to discover how to live my life #ShamelesslyFeminine. Just the thought of it gives me goosebumps. It sounds so liberating. When I close my eyes and think of a life like that it just feels more whole and authentic. A life I want to live.

I am going to start this movement by declaring this:

I believe every woman should celebrate her unique femininity, SHAMELESSLY! 

No apologies necessary.

I am #ShamelesslyFeminine and ladies, I want you to  join me! Take the first step with me. It’s very simple. Start by tweeting or putting on Facebook (or any other social media) a simple statement about what you believe shamelessly femininity is. It can be one line, one paragraph or one word. Hashtag it #ShamelesslyFeminine. (Feel free to tag me as well if you want me to see it! Twitter is @jenrozenbaum)

Let’s live the life we deserve. Let’s stop shaming women and allowing others to shame us. Being a woman is nothing to be shameful of.

xo,

Jen

  • Danea - This is fantastic and so very, very true! I have been made to feel silly for being feminine and wearing flowers in my hair. It doesn’t stop me but the thoughts and comments are still made. And not just about that but about so many of the things on your list.

    Thanks Jen, you’re awesome! ♥ReplyCancel

  • Skip Cohen - Obviously I’m a guy and you wouldn’t expect a comment from me. The only thing more stunning than your photography is your passion and the way you express yourself. You’re helping to raise the bar on so many different issues of self-esteem, passion, creativity and art. They’re all building blocks and what makes Jen Rozenbaum a teacher, artist, friend and inspiration. I love what you’re doing and couldn’t be more proud to have you as a friend. You inspire all of us to raise the bar on who we are, male or female.ReplyCancel

  • Molly Schock - I am strong, I am intelligent, I am handy with a powerdrill. I take out the trash, do the yard work and fix the house.

    I have long hair and wear high heels. I will wear a dress anytime, anywear.

    I am petite and girly and single. I do not need rescuing. I do not need to be taken care of. Please do not dismiss me as just a pretty gal.

    Walk along beside me.ReplyCancel

  • Kelley-Spurlock Photography - HELL YES! This is so fantastic. For the most part, I feel like I’m very true to myself. I feel strong and unwilling to compromise who I am for what people think I should be. Even still, there’s shame. Shame if I want to get a manicure, because that somehow makes me less strong. A FREAKING manicure. If I want my nails painted, dammit, I’m going to get my nails painted. Of course, that’s a very superficial example, but your idea of the shame we feel struck a cord with me. From now on, I’ll be #ShamelesslyFeminine.

    Thanks for this.ReplyCancel

  • Elliott Ortiz - For all you ladies, a celebration of beauty and self freedom:

    “Shamelessly Feminine”- Poem

    She is an errant Angel sent to make captive my mind,
    Not any kind of Angel, but one with an intriguing spark.

    A spark that is as a metamorphosis of her angelic form,
    Created to melt the inner part of my soul.

    Maybe it was the radiant refection of the sunset caressing her face,
    Or the touch of the ocean breeze playing with her undulated hair.

    Perhaps it was her sweet taste of dark chocolate and red wine,
    The truth is that she is Shamelessly Feminine with an intriguing spark.

    Let me catch the glow of power from your glorious presence,
    Show me the beauty that has shaken all my senses.

    Let me brush with light the Canvas of your skin
    and prove that you are Shamelessly feminine, Yes indeed!ReplyCancel

  • Marney White - This is amazing, Jen! I have to tell my daughter — she’ll love it!

    What is being #shamelesslyfeminine to me? Being strong. I do not apologize for being strong, despite that way too many women I know openly equate being strong with being a bitch. That’s just wrong. “Nice person” does not equal “doormat”. I have been vulnerable, loyal, patient, nurturing, sweet, creative, a leader, and even formidable when necessary.

    Thank you for launching this new movement, Jen! Let me know how I can help you share it!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Zimmerman - I appreciate this new movement of yours so much. It has pushed me to speak my truth.

    Here is what I have to say:
    http://www.torridboudoir.com/truth/

    Thank you, Jen, for constantly inspiring me, in many different ways.

    <3 EReplyCancel

  • Torrid Boudoir Austin Our Unspoken Truth - Curvy Austin Boudoir by Torrid Boudoir - […] Rozenbaum of Jenerations, a photographer friend of mine, posed a question yesterday morning on her blog asking what being #shamelesslyfeminine meant to everyone.  I answered her yesterday morning before […]ReplyCancel

A few years ago my friend Lance gave me a compliment. I don’t quite remember what he said, I do however remember that my rebuttal to him involved everything but “Thank You”.

How many times have you done that? Someone tells you that your hair looks nice and you answer with “Oh please, I need a haircut” or that you look really great and you say “If I only lost a few pounds imagine how good I would really look”.

You get where I am going with this. For some reason it is hard for us to take a compliment. Maybe we assume it’s narcissistic to agree with those dishing out the compliment. Maybe we just don’t feel our best in the moment. I am sure we all have plenty of long winded reasons to deny compliments, what if you didn’t argue it…

Think about it this way, when you don’t say “Thank You” you might actually be insulting the giver.

When someone compliments you, they are showing your genuine love. They are taking time out to notice you. To make you feel good. When you get a compliment it’s because you have made someone else happy. They want to share that feeling with you. By denying the compliment you are telling that person you don’t want to share in the love. That they don’t know what they are talking about. That their feelings aren’t valid.

When you think of it that way, how can you NOT say “Thank You”?

When I am photographing a woman, I NEVER give a compliment that I don’t mean. I adore watching a woman own her femininity shamelessly. I love creating an environment that she can do that in. Seeing her flourish and say “Thank You” to me when I compliment her fills my heart and feeds my soul. Compliments are powerful for both the giver and receiver. Try it! Give a compliment today to someone, especially when they least expect it. Most importantly, say “Thank You” when you get one back.

So Lance… Thank you! For your compliments and your friendship and your awesome tour of Austin when I was in town (oh and triple thank you for the cinnamon roll pancakes that I am still burning off but were so worth it). Mostly thank you for teaching me to say “Thank You” and allowing me to enjoy in your happiness.

Thankfully yours,
Jen

PS… If you are reading this.. thank you for your love and support and know I love you so much too!).

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(Thanks again to Lance for snapping this image)

This week I will be packing for WPPI. I will be in Vegas for a week. During that week there will be lots of education, networking and of course parties. Packing for Vegas is torture. I see many FB status updates from people who share my woes.

I mean let’s not forget, I barely have time to wear makeup or heels in my real life, now I have to do it for 7 days in a row??

Sometimes being a woman is hard work.

I have some items that make me feel super girly that I never leave the house without. I thought it might be fun to share those with you today to inspire your packing mission.

First, I am obsessed with this mascara. No matter how tired or pressed for time you are, a little mascara goes a long way.

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Still working with the makeup theme, I love packing eye shadow palettes. This is the best way to get the most variety without taking up too much room in the suitcase.

Of course Urban Decay Naked palettes are my favorite (if for nothing else based on the name alone). The new Naked 3 is my favorite these days.

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Next is a comfy and sexy heel that matches everything. Neutral is the key. I bought these over the winter and they have gone with me on every business trip since. They are the Sam Edelman ‘Alva’.

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It’s so hard for me to decide today what I want to wear next week, so I have a few staples that I know look good, travel well and are classic. Wrap dresses are great. I also have a little black dress I love that is perfect for any party or fancy dinner.

DVF makes amazing wrap dresses. Some are pretty vibrant and busy, but she also makes very simple solid color dresses as well.

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PS… always make sure to roll the dress then put it in your suitcase. It avoids wrinkling that way.

Now it’s YOUR turn!! What is your favorite packing tip? Something that makes you feel girly? A special item you bring on trips with you. Anything you want to share!

My favorite tip posted by Feb 26th gets a FREE copy of my 8 points of posing PDF!

xo,
Jen

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  • Lindsay Wynne - I always bring jewelry that can help take a day look to a night look.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I make sure to pack coconut oil and Park Soap soap when I travel! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - My favorite that I can’t leave without is l’occitane almond oil. I use on my legs everytime I shave. It makes my legs for sooo soft!!ReplyCancel

  • lisa white - Several different sets of jewellery to dress clothing sets up or down, and it looks like you have several outfits too!! Have fun at WPPI, I couldn’t get there this year. LxReplyCancel

  • Anne Bingham - Always pack your essentials, extra undergarments and at least one complete outfit in your carry on. Just in case the airline loses your luggage. I learned this the hard way.
    I never leave home without mascara. It makes me feel put together. Have you tried They’re Real by Benefit? It’s the bomb!ReplyCancel

  • Kalei - Definitely pack wet wipes on any trips! They are great for freshening up, getting stains off of clothes, wiping off a dirty bench seat/table and cleaning your hands if you touch something gross on accident.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - A girl can’t leave home without her accessories that help get/keep her in the mood. A little pocket bullet toy alway helps jump start the evening romance. Don’t leave home without it.ReplyCancel

  • Juliana - Here are some of my maybe not so sexy tips but it might help you :)

    First aid kit including bandaid (for those sexy heels), Aleve, and lots of 5 hour energy drinks. Make sure to bring a denim jacket or something that would warm you up on those a/c rooms. Cute comfortable flats for the day so you can rock those heels at night! Lots of accessories! A large bag so you can put it all from the expo room without having to carry those terrible plastic bags they hand out. Make sure to carry on your purse your phone charger since you are out all day! Acetone and clear nail polish in case your awesome red nail polish start to chip and that bother you. Cotton balls, q tips, nail files and shower caps… not every hotel room is providing those anymore. I could go on and on… LOL Hope to see you all at WWPI! Safe travels :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - Lipstick! I hardly ever wear lipstick in general, but something about traveling makes me want to add lipstick to my daily makeup routine! And a really good book that I have been wanting to read but have not had time!ReplyCancel

  • Cecilia - A lil’ bottle “Perfume” on your purse , You will be a couple hours between class before you can comeback to your room. So many new friends “There is only one chance to make a good first impression”ReplyCancel

  • Shana - Sexy Underwear and Bras.

    Granted I am a bigger girl, but I’ve finally lost enough weight to be able to fit into Victoria’s Secret Underwear (their bras too with an adjuster). But I’ve replaced my entire undie collection with VS undies and I tell you it goes a LONG way!!!

    Even when I wake up feeling like a busted can of biscuits, I shower and put on a pair of delicious undies…and my entire day is transformed. Even though the world can’t see it, I know how I feel underneath it all. Just saying…it’s kind of an amazeballs feeling and I go nowhere without them (obviously!)ReplyCancel

  • Carol - I always bring a bit of dark chocolate–enough for me and to share with someone special. It can set a romantic mood and make me feel very girly and feminine.ReplyCancel

  • Kinzie - I always bring along my cutest bra and underwear in case I need to have a spontaneous dance party in my hotel room (who are we kidding — I ALWAYS need to have spontaneous dance parties!!).ReplyCancel

  • LS - Rolling is great for your clothing while in your case however remember to hang them up as soon as you get to the hotel allowing any wrinkles to fall out or at least lessen.ReplyCancel

  • amber tyler - I always take cute/ sexy pajamas, my Naked 2 pallet, and a good selection of shoes!ReplyCancel

  • Tara - I cannot live without my SUN sunless tanning spray . And mascara def need my mascaraReplyCancel

  • Pamela Anderson - J’Adore Voil Perfume & a HUGE bag of Peanut M&MsReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I always pack too much (!), but I’d say visine (for red airplane & late night eyes), raw almonds & EmergenC to keep you healthy!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi O - I can’t live without the NAKED palette. Great minds think alike!ReplyCancel

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